Bunhill: His Notes

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The Independent Online
On the subject of riches lost and found, word reaches me of another heir in financial difficulty.

Through an intricate web of family companies and trusts, Leslie Draycott and his wife Audrey own much of Brighton (Hannington's, the department store, the crematorium, aquarium and the Old Ship Hotel) as well as properties elsewhere on the south coast, in London and the Caribbean.

But now Charles Draycott, 31, their only child, says he cannot pay a High Court order of pounds 173,000 awarded to Christopher Chadwick, a former interior designer who worked on Highgrove House for the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Their dispute arose four years ago from damage caused by Mr Draycott's building work on a flat below Mr Chadwick's in a house in South Kensington.

Last August, with Mr Chadwick pressing for his money, Mr Draycott entered into a voluntary arrangement with his creditors, led by Royal Bank of Scotland, to which he owed more than pounds 1m. At the creditors' meeting, Mr Chadwick was told there had been negotiations for almost a year between Mr Draycott's advisers and the bank.

Unbowed, Mr Chadwick has continued his fight. Last week, in the High Court, he obtained a charging order absolute and intends, if needs be, to force the sale of some of the Brighton properties.